The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 8, 2013

Arsonist sentenced to two years in prison

By WARREN DILLAWAY - warren@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — A Conneaut man who burned his trailer to the ground and threatened a police officer last April was sentenced to two years in prison on Thursday afternoon by Ashtabula County Common Pleas Judge Ronald J. Vettel.

Justin J. Mayberry, 33,  of Conneaut, pleaded guilty to aggravated arson on Nov. 13, 2012, following an April 25, 2012, incident when he set his trailer on fire, according to court records and testimony from defense and prosecuting attorneys. The incident occurred at the Mobile Grove Trailer Park on West Main Road after an argument with his girlfriend, said his attorney Jane Timonere.

“I just want to tell the court I know what I did was wrong and I would like to ask mercy from the court,” Mayberry said.

Mayberry was originally indicted on two counts of aggravated arson and one count of assault but two of the charges were dropped during a plea bargain in November.

Timonere said the incident started with an argument with his girlfriend and escalated. She asked the judge to take his bi-polar condition into account during sentencing.

She asked the judge to consider probation because Mayberry has made significant changes in life and has a job offer.

“After being locked up for nine months I believe his freedom would be his to lose,” Timonere said of her desire to see him remain free on probation.

Ashtabula County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Harold Specht mentioned several drug charges dating back to 2000 and asked the judge for a six-year sentence.

Timonere said her client was trying to commit suicide by burning the trailer. “He wasn’t trying to commit suicide he was trying to hurt people,” Specht countered.

“The state of Ohio  is recommending a six-year prison term,” Specht said.

 Vettel said Mayberry had committed a serious crime and was not a candidate for probation. He said Mayberry look the gas line from the wall and lit it creating a potentially dangerous situation for other residents of the trailer park where the incident occurred.

“You put a lot of people at risk,” Vettel said.

He sentenced Mayberry to two years in the Lorain Correctional Institution at Grafton. He said Mayberry would be credited with 288 days of time served.

Vettel said no fine would be incurred but he would have to pay for prosecution costs and be on three years of probation after his release from prison.